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WTO panel rejects China’s challenge to US safeguard on solar products

A WTO dispute settlement panel issued a public report on Thursday rejecting China‘s challenges to the United States‘ safeguard tariffs on solar products.

This is the United States-Safeguard Measure dispute on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic products (DS562).

Thus, this is the first successful defense of a blanket safeguard action before a WTO dispute panel.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring America’s role in resilient clean energy supply chains as part of the Build Back Better agenda. We must make historic investments in infrastructure that unlock the full potential of solar energy and create high-paying jobs in cutting-edge fields that will help address the climate crisis, ”said Katherine Tai, head of the USTR, in a statement.

In early 2018, the United States imposed the safeguard measure on imports of solar products to support the efforts of the domestic industry to adapt to competition from imports mainly attributable to excess capacity of solar modules and cells by Chinese producers. in China and around the world and exacerbated by China’s non-trade practices.

Solar products

The safeguard was established after the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) determined that the domestic solar industry was being seriously damaged by increased imports.

Specifically, the safeguard imposes a tariff quota on cell imports and a tariff on modules for a four-year period that currently expires on February 6, 2022.

In addition, domestic producers have asked the USITC to review an extension of the safeguard. That review is ongoing.

In July 2019, China requested the establishment of a WTO panel alleging that the imposition of the safeguard by the United States was inconsistent with several obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards of the United States. the WTO. The Panel rejected all of China’s claims.

Specifically, the Panel found that the United States established that solar energy imports had increased as a result of unforeseen events, established a causal link between increased imports and serious injury to the domestic industry, and properly considered other factors in addition to increased imports that were allegedly causing injury to the domestic industry.

 

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